Mango, Avocado, Tomato, and Arugula Salad

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Mango avo finished

During the hot summer months we love fruit focused salads served on a bed of greens. Our Tomato, Peach, and Avocado Salad with Ricotta Salata was such a hit with our families that we decided to create a yummy variation on that theme– this time adding some greens, switching out the peach for mango, and adding the sweet, soft, buttery crunch of Marcona almonds. This salad gets thumbs up all around.


mise         Mise en Place

Oil stream copyWhisking the dressing

Mango Avo double photoFresh from the market

 Mango, Avocado, Tomato and Arugula Salad

4 servings

For the Dressing
1 teaspoon chopped shallot
3 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

For the Salad
2 bunches arugula
2 tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 ripe mango, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 avocado, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/4 cup roasted Marcona almonds, (or any blanched and roasted almonds)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar glaze or Saba
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

For the Dressing
In a small mixing bowl whisk together the shallot and vinegar. Slowly pour in the oil in a steady stream, whisking until completely emulsified. Add a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.

For the Salad
Place the arugula in a bowl and add half of the dressing and toss to coat. Assemble slices of tomato on 4 individual salad plates. Mound arugula on top of the tomatoes and then alternate slices of mango and avocado. Add some of the almonds, drizzle with balsamic vinegar glaze, and sprinkle with the basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

mango avo close up

Tomato, Peach, and Avocado Salad with Ricotta Salata

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This simple salad combines summer’s riches–local peaches and tomatoes–at the height of their abundance and lushness. The lemon vinaigrette adds a tart note, while the avocado and ricotta salata provide a creamy mellowness.

mise en place peach

sliced peach etc crop


Tomato, Peach, and Avocado Salad with Ricotta Salata
4 servings

For the Vinaigrette
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

For the Salad
2 peaches, very thinly sliced
2 tomatoes, very thinly sliced
2 avocados, very thinly sliced
1/3 cup crumbled ricotta salata
20 basil leaves, cut into chiffonade

In a glass jar with a lid or in a small mixing bowl, combine the oils, lemon zest, lemon juice, mustard, sugar, 1 / 8 teaspoon of salt, and a pinch of pepper. Shake the jar vigorously, or whisk to emulsify.

Divide the sliced peaches, tomatoes, and avocados among 4 plates, add the crumbled ricotta salata, the basil, and drizzle with the lemon vinaigrette. Sprinkle on a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.

crop peach salad



Rhubarb and Strawberry Crispy Crumble

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Crumble in kitchen crop

A chocolate dessert is fine on occasion, but we Pollans have always been enamored of any dessert with fruit inside. So it’s not surprising that some form of a crumble appears at just about every one of our family gatherings. One summer we departed from our classic apple crumble and experimented with all manner of fruit combinations, from peach-blueberry, to mango-strawberry, to pear-cranberry. We even tried a piña-colada crumble––an unlikely mix of banana, pineapple, and coconut––and like the others, it was delish. And yet, we must admit that the rhubarb-strawberry crumble holds a special place in our hearts, the fragrance alone broadcasts summer.

Rhubarb was used in China for medicinal purposes thousands of years ago, but when a new strain of rhubarb was introduced in England in 1837 it was the beginning of a passionate love affair. The Victorians became obsessed, and very quickly they were using it in everything from jams, jellies, pies, custards, fools, even savories. Soon rhubarb was as costly as such rare spices as cinnamon and saffron. But by the 1950s rhubarb had fallen out of favor, it was considered old-fashioned and a tad dowdy. It’s only in the last decade when chefs began using rhubarb in inventive ways, pairing it with braised chicken, as a tangy-sweet topping for fish, or as a spicy BBQ sauce for ribs, that this wonderfully sour vegetable (deemed a fruit by a New York City court in 1947) has regained its popularity.

rhubarb and straw


Rhubarb mix


Oat topping


Rhubarb and Strawberry Crumble

6 to 8 servings

For the Filling
3 cups rhubarb, cut into 3/4 inch pieces
2  1/2 cups strawberries, hulled and quartered
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
3 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca or all-purpose flour
Kosher salt

For the Crumble Topping
1  1/4 cups all- purpose flour
1  1/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant)
1  1/4 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 /2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Kosher salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 375° F.

For the Filling
Place the rhubarb and the strawberries in a large mixing bowl. Add the granulated sugar, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, the nutmeg, ginger, tapioca, and 1/8 teaspoon of salt and gently toss to combine. Spoon the filling into a 9-inch round, 2-inch deep pie dish.

For the Crumble Topping

In a medium-size mixing bowl whisk together the flour, rolled oats, brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, and 1/8 teaspoon of salt. Add the butter, and working with your fingers, a fork, or pastry blender, combine the mixture until the crumbs are pea sized.

Sprinkle the topping evenly, but thickly, over the fruit filling.

Place the pie dish on a baking sheet or sheet of foil (to catch any spills) on the middle rack of the oven. Bake until the fruit is bubbling and the top is nicely browned, about 1 hour. To insure even baking rotate the baking dish halfway through. If the top begins to get too brown, cover it with a sheet of foil. Serve warm.

Stacked Watermelon and Feta Cheese Salad

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Nothing says summer more than watermelon and it’s one of our favorite summertime fruits. However, we can’t tell you how many times we’ve come home in the summer with a 20-pound watermelon and have been forced to throw out half of it because we can’t eat it fast enough! Last summer, we went to a restaurant and for the first time ordered a savory watermelon salad. It was so different and delicious that we decided to create our own version. We experimented combining watermelon with different ingredients and discovered that salty feta cheese enhances the sweetness of the watermelon. We added basil and finished it off with a balsamic vinegar glaze. This is our new “go to” summer salad because it’s so refreshing on a hot day. This summer we want to try mixing yellow and red watermelon together for an even more spectacular presentation.

stacked watermelon salad4 servings
1/3 cup basil leaves (16 to 18 leaves), sliced into chiffonade (thin strips), plus 8 whole leaves for garnish, optional
1/4 watermelon (4 pounds), rind removed and cut into eight 2 1/2 by 2-inch rectangles, 1/2 inch thick
8-ounce block good-quality Feta cheese, cut into eight 2 1/2 by 2-inch rectangles, 1/4 inch thick
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar glaze, or Saba
Freshly ground black pepper

To assemble each stack, scatter approximately 2 teaspoons of the basil chiffonade on an individual salad plate. Place a watermelon rectangle on top, followed by a Feta cheese rectangle, and 1 teaspoon more of the basil.Repeat with another layer, stacking the watermelon, Feta cheese, and basil. Drizzle 1/2 teaspoon of the olive oil, then 1/4 teaspoon of the balsamic vinegar glaze on top.Finish with freshly ground black pepper to taste. Repeat these steps for each salad, garnish with whole basil leaves as desired, and serve.

Raspberry Pudding Cake

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Raspberries are my favorite berry and the origin of that love dates back to a bright summery day spent picking raspberries at a Pick Your Own farm in Connecticut. I got there early and spent hours walking through the rows of bushes loaded with ripe fruit. By afternoon–my face a bit stained with berry juice–I had pints and pints to take home and turn into luscious pies and jam.

Though puddings have always struck me as great for the nursery, I find them a tad boring. But our pudding cake is full of flavor, light and airy, and definitely for grown ups. And this cake is such a dream to make that even a novice will have luck.   It’s also a touch magical. You pour the berry sauce on top of the batter and when you remove the cake from the oven you’re surprised and delighted to discover that the sauce has dispersed throughout. We like to serve the pudding in individual footed stem glasses, topped with a scoop of our favorite ice cream.


6 servings
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly, plus extra for greasing the pan
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 cups fresh raspberries
½ cup raspberry jam
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 ¾ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
1 large egg
½ cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 375ºF. Butter a 9-inch square baking pan.In a small saucepan over low heat, stir together ¼ cup of the sugar, ¼ cup of water, the lemon juice, and cornstarch and bring to a simmer. Add the raspberries and the raspberry jam and cook, stirring, for an additional 3 minutes. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and the remaining ½ cup of sugar.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, melted butter, and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined.

Spread the batter into the baking pan and top with the raspberry sauce.

Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake just comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in the pan on a cooling rack for 5 minutes and serve.